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Skymiles usage/Elite status recommendation needed

Skymiles usage/Elite status recommendation needed

Old Nov 9, 20, 11:55 am
  #1  
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Skymiles usage/Elite status recommendation needed

As a background, I used to be a Diamond but haven't really flown since 2011. I have the Delta Platinum AMEX and get a lot of spend on it annually. I have spent enough on the card this year to qualify for Silver status for 2021 through the bonus MQMs. I have a lot of miles we have been saving for a family trip to Hawaii in 2022.

Here's my question, as my memory on this is vague. Since I have silver status, would it benefit me to upgrade my AMEX to the Reserve and get the bonus miles as well as have the bonus MQMs to get up to Gold or possibly Platinum status? I'm thinking that more availability for reward seats opens up the higher your status. Is that accurate? I know with the Reserve card gets a parter cert for FC, so we could buy a FC ticket and get the second in FC on the cert thus saving miles, or we could do the whole thing on miles. We plan on flying FC to HI, then doing a cruise ending in Vancouver, BC then flying back to the east coast. I think I should book this as a Destination Open Jaw and we'd need 6 tickets. My plan is to break up the flight from the east coast by spending a night in LA, then flying the next day to HNL. That may kill the destination open jaw option though and this may just have to be booked a as 3 one way flights.

I have over 7 digits for available miles so I should be good to cover all six tickets but am not sure if shooting for higher status would help, getting the Reserve card would help, etc. Mileage runs aren't an option unfortunately, so MQMs have to come from card spend. Once booked, the status in 2022 wouldn't matter necessarily as we'd be FC. I hope this makes sense. What suggestions do all the experts here have?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:14 pm
  #2  
 
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Couple of items. Amex companion tickets are not valid in the Hawaii market, unless you are originating in Hawaii.
Also, Delta no longer provides different award inventory for upper tier medallion members. (They used to do that).
Depending upon your originating city, an open jaw will not likely be allowed, as the distance between the two unflown cities, must
be less than either flown leg of the trip. You may have to book two one way tickets.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:22 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by kcool View Post
As a background, I used to be a Diamond but haven't really flown since 2011. I have the Delta Platinum AMEX and get a lot of spend on it annually. I have spent enough on the card this year to qualify for Silver status for 2021 through the bonus MQMs. I have a lot of miles we have been saving for a family trip to Hawaii in 2022.

Here's my question, as my memory on this is vague. Since I have silver status, would it benefit me to upgrade my AMEX to the Reserve and get the bonus miles as well as have the bonus MQMs to get up to Gold or possibly Platinum status? I'm thinking that more availability for reward seats opens up the higher your status. Is that accurate? I know with the Reserve card gets a parter cert for FC, so we could buy a FC ticket and get the second in FC on the cert thus saving miles, or we could do the whole thing on miles. We plan on flying FC to HI, then doing a cruise ending in Vancouver, BC then flying back to the east coast. I think I should book this as a Destination Open Jaw and we'd need 6 tickets. My plan is to break up the flight from the east coast by spending a night in LA, then flying the next day to HNL. That may kill the destination open jaw option though and this may just have to be booked a as 3 one way flights.

I have over 7 digits for available miles so I should be good to cover all six tickets but am not sure if shooting for higher status would help, getting the Reserve card would help, etc. Mileage runs aren't an option unfortunately, so MQMs have to come from card spend. Once booked, the status in 2022 wouldn't matter necessarily as we'd be FC. I hope this makes sense. What suggestions do all the experts here have?

Thanks.
The AmEx companion certificate is not good to Hawaii. It's also not good for an open-jaw or for Canada. That said, since you're discussing breaking up the trip anyway, one possibility is you could use the companion certificate for two of you from your origin on the East Coast to SEA, overnight in SEA (instead of LAX) and fly onward to Hawaii on a separate ticket, either with DL or another carrier (AS, DL, and HA all fly to Hawaii from SEA) - you could certainly use your miles to book DL for SEA-Hawaii. My wife and I did this when we lived on the East Coast and went to Hawaii about 6 years ago. We used my AmEx companion certificate for CVG-SEA-CVG and then used miles to book SEA-Hawaii and back, with overnights (actually long weekends on either end) in SEA.

You'd also need to secure transit from Vancouver to Seattle but there are quite a few options there. The train between Vancouver and Seattle is supposed to be pretty scenic (I never did get to take the train - we did drive to Vancouver to fly out of YVR when I lived in SEA).
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:23 pm
  #4  
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So, most likely TYS to LAX for an evening arrival then the next AM depart for HNL. The back to TYS from YVR. Would this be able to be booked TYS to HNL via LAX with a 12-14 hour layover or have to be split into 3 one way tickets?

With the different award inventory not being an issue, and the cert not working to HNL, is it worth it to shoot for a higher status level via the Reserve card MQMs I would earn? Keep in mind, I don't fly any more so the status would really only be good for this particular trip.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:31 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by kcool View Post
So, most likely TYS to LAX for an evening arrival then the next AM depart for HNL. The back to TYS from YVR. Would this be able to be booked TYS to HNL via LAX with a 12-14 hour layover or have to be split into 3 one way tickets?

With the different award inventory not being an issue, and the cert not working to HNL, is it worth it to shoot for a higher status level via the Reserve card MQMs I would earn? Keep in mind, I don't fly any more so the status would really only be good for this particular trip.
There's probably nothing that status will get you on this trip that being in F won't already get you. The one thing status would get you is you'd get through faster on a phone line if you need rebooking assistance but that's the only thing. There was a point where being PM would have gotten you free redeposit on miles if you had to change/cancel your trip, but my understanding now is that for domestic tickets, that now applies for all mileage tickets - you no longer need to be a PM to get that benefit.

You will probably need 3 tickets or a multi-city on one ticket. But with the extended stopover in LAX it wouldn't be booked as a "layover". That said, just out of curiosity, why are you not considering TYS-ATL-HNL booked in D1? ATL-HNL has lie-flats and gets you there nonstop from ATL, versus an overnight on the west coast.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:35 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
The AmEx companion certificate is not good to Hawaii. It's also not good for an open-jaw or for Canada. That said, since you're discussing breaking up the trip anyway, one possibility is you could use the companion certificate for two of you from your origin to SEA, overnight in SEA (instead of LAX) and fly onward to Hawaii on a separate ticket, either with DL or another carrier (AS, DL, and HA all fly to Hawaii from SEA) - you could certainly use your miles to book DL for SEA-Hawaii. You'd also need to secure transit from Vancouver to Seattle but there are quite a few options there. The train between Vancouver and Seattle is supposed to be pretty scenic (I never did get to take the train - we did drive to Vancouver to fly out of YVR when I lived in SEA).
So, why SEA instead of the easier YVR return? I'll have three kids (8, 5 and 3 at the time) so I'm trying to make this as easy as possible on them as they have never flown. Flight times seem relatively comparable from SEA to HNL but it's the return I'm concerned about. We will already be disembarking our cruise at 8 am or so then have to catch a flight to get back to the east coast, which adding a train trip back to SEA could potentially mean an overnight layover in ATL as we are headed to TYS and may miss the last connection. If this wasn't the three kids and my MIL having to run through an airport, my wife and I could do a short layover sprint from gate to gate. Trying to avoid messy situations like that.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:41 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by ATOBTTR View Post
That said, just out of curiosity, why are you not considering TYS-ATL-HNL booked in D1? ATL-HNL has lie-flats and gets you there nonstop from ATL, versus an overnight on the west coast.
MIL doesn't fly well and we had to convince her that we wouldn't be on the plane longer than 6-7 hours at a time. 6 hours with the three kids on a plane is about all anyone could take anyway.

And I'm guessing that this is best done myself vs using a service like Juicy Miles or something similar.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:42 pm
  #8  
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If DL reimposes change fees for award tickets, PM and DM might be exempt as they were previously. This could be helpful, although the old rule was that the account holder (whose miles were being used) needed the status at the time the change is made. If you don't have a FC ticket for yourself, as a PM you'd be more likely to get a C+ seat (at time of booking if available) and IIRC for one companion on the same PNR (if no one else shares the PNR).

How about aiming for higher status early in 2021, to be valid for the remainder of 2021 and all of 2022? That would cover a lot of the rebooking period for your award tickets plus the actual trip.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by kcool View Post
So, why SEA instead of the easier YVR return? I'll have three kids (8, 5 and 3 at the time) so I'm trying to make this as easy as possible on them as they have never flown.
I offered up SEA as an option since you discussed possibly using an AmEx companion cert. YVR is a no-go for a companion cert, as is Hawaii. If you're not going to use a companion cert at all, then it's probably not worth considering SEA and from the sounds of what you're doing, any savings by trying to do it this way probably isn't worth the hassle.

Originally Posted by kcool View Post
MIL doesn't fly well and we had to convince her that we wouldn't be on the plane longer than 6-7 hours at a time. 6 hours with the three kids on a plane is about all anyone could take anyway.
Before booking anything I would have a lengthy discussion and explain the different options. I can sort of understand not wanting to be on/in a plane for certain lengths of time but there's certainly a difference between being on an A330 with a lie-flat seat for 10 hours versus a domestic F seat for 6 hours. ATL-HNL also receives "D1" service which includes a large pillow, full-size blanket, and other amenities. East-LAX and LAX-HNL are going to be standard domestic FC service (at best).
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Old Nov 9, 20, 1:15 pm
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Delta stopped offering enhanced award availability for Medallions a number of years ago (2015). This is no longer a thing.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 1:18 pm
  #11  
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Understood. Would I be able to get 6 D1 seats ATL - HNL? That's the trick - getting 6 FC or D1 seats on the same flight. We are taking the MIL so we are matched one adult to one kid. I could take one kid on a separate flight if needed but wife wouldn't appreciate that much - especially depending on what kid I took. HA!
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Old Nov 9, 20, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by kcool View Post
Understood. Would I be able to get 6 D1 seats ATL - HNL? That's the trick - getting 6 FC or D1 seats on the same flight. We are taking the MIL so we are matched one adult to one kid. I could take one kid on a separate flight if needed but wife wouldn't appreciate that much - especially depending on what kid I took. HA!
As long as there are six seats for sale, yes. I would recommend doing dummy bookings to see what the price is for 1 ticket, 2 tickets, 3 tickets, etc. and book separate as needed because DL uses dynamic pricing now for award tickets that are somewhat tied to revenue fares. Just like with booking regular tickets, if there are only 2 tickets left in the lowest fare bucket and you're trying to book 3 or more in one reservation, all tickets will book into the higher bucket. You may be able to save some miles by booking tickets separately. If you can get all 6 tickets pricing out at the same fare/rate as you would get if breaking it up, then probably best to just book all passengers under one one reservation.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 1:56 pm
  #13  
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You can always get award tickets... the issue is they may not be the price you want to pay. DL basically tied award tickets to the cost now, so you no longer see the distinct saver/standard/high levels... they often closely follow the cash price, so if DL is charging 2k for a ticket, it may cost close to 200k miles.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 2:32 pm
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If you have 7 figures of miles...use them sooner rather than later. They are not an asset that increases in value over time. You can find some good redemption rates now and then, but as it has been mentioned, redemption rates are usually fairly closely tied to the cash price of the ticket now. I am seeing a lot of flights now where the redemption rates are $0.01/mile and rarely $0.02 per mile. Not too many years ago, I was able to redeem miles for several cents per mile. If you have 1,000,000 miles, its probably worth $15,000. 2-3 years ago it was probably worth $25,000. 2-3 years from now it will be worth $10,000 as DL moves in the direction of having 1 mile equal 1 penny.
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Old Nov 9, 20, 3:55 pm
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One thing that wasn't mentioned as well with the Delta AmEx Reserve is you don't get the companion cert until your first renewal--so the soonest you could use that would be one year from now if you upgrade.

Originally Posted by kcool View Post
MIL doesn't fly well and we had to convince her that we wouldn't be on the plane longer than 6-7 hours at a time. 6 hours with the three kids on a plane is about all anyone could take anyway.
I would hope you can convince the MIL that a nonstop flight in D1 would be no problemo compared to domestic First with stops.

Originally Posted by The Situation View Post
If you have 7 figures of miles...use them sooner rather than later.
Totally agree--now is the time to cash out.
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